Effect of Ni2+ on the testosterone production of mouse primary leydig cell culture

Zsolt Forgács, Katalin Paksy, Péter Lázár, Erzsébet Tátrai

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This study evaluated the effects of Ni2+ on testosterone (T) production of mouse Leydig cells in vitro following an in vivo or in vitro exposure. CFLP mice were subjected to repeated exposure (4 treatments, subcutaneously, every 3 d) to 10, 20 or 40 mg/ kg body weight of NiSO4 or 1.0 ml of 0.9% NaCl solution. Depressed human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-stimulated T response was seen over a 48-h culture of testicular interstitial cells obtained from the animals exposed to 20 mg/ kg or higher dose of NiSO4, while the basal T production remained unaltered. There were no Ni2+-related changes in the body weights or in the weights of testes, epididymides, adrenals, and kidneys. No histopathological alteration was found in the examined organs of NiSO4 treated groups except the dose-dependent tubular lesions in kidney as a result of a specific rather than a general cytotoxic action. To assess the direct effect of Ni2+ on Leydigcell T production, testicular interstitial cells were cultured with Ni2+ (62.5 to 1000 μ M) for 48 h in the presence or absence of maximally stimulating concentration of hCG. Dose-dependent depression in hCG-stimulated T production was seen at 125 μM or higher dose of Ni2+, while basal T production was unaffected. In order to evaluate the time dependency of this effect the cells were cultured for various times in the presence or absence of 250 and 1000 μ M Ni2+. Decreased hCG-stimulated T production was found in the cultures maintained at least for 4 h in the presence of 1000 μ M Ni2+, whereas at 250 μ M at least 16 h was required to elicit the depression. Cell viability was assessed by a metabolic activity (MTT) assay. The viability of cells was unaltered by 250 μ M Ni2+, and only a slight decrease was found even at the end of the 48-h culture period in the presence of 1000 μ M Ni2+. Our results show a dose-related depression in stimulated T production of mouse Leydig cells in culture following either in vivo or in vitro Ni2+ treatment at a dose that does not induce any general toxic or significant cytotoxic action. The data of the time-course study indicate that the effect of Ni2+ on Leydigcell T production is both time and concentration dependent, and not due to cytotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-224
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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